Ossuary figure

This figure would have originally adorned the end of a bone box or ossuary used to carefully store the remains of revered ancestors. It was found hidden deep inside a cave. It is probably meant to represent an ancestor, a protecting spirit intended to frighten away thieves and evil spirits alike. Ancestor figures carved in the form of a squatting man are found all over island Southeast Asia and are a common theme in the art of the Austronesian people.

Date/Period
19th century or earlier
Region
Mahakam River Basin, Eastern Borneo, Indonesia
Dimension
Object size: 61.5 x 41.5 x 46.0 cm, Object size: Base 11.0 x 53.5 x 57.0 cm
Accession No.
2017-00541
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Category
Woodcarving